Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Opposition profile: Yeovil Town

United will travel the length of the country to face a side from the opposite end of the football league pyramid after we were paired with Yeovil Town in the FA Cup fourth round. The Reds will be red hot favourites against the Glovers.
Yeovil are bidding to reach the fifth round for only second time in their history. A plum, money-spinning tie for our League Two opponents - the lowest ranked side left in the competition - it's a classic Cup contest that pits United's Goliath against Yeovil's David. But, as we saw with Newport County, Coventry and to a lesser extent Nottingham Forest, the 'romance' of the FA Cup is alive and well and we cannot take any side for granted. 

Despite the Somerset side's nomadic existence in the lower leagues, they have strong links with United and this will be the fourth meeting between the sides. The most famous of those previous encounters came in the 1948-49 when Yeovil - then a non league side - stunned Sunderland's "Bank of England" side to reach the fifth round for the first, and so far only, time in their history. There, the Glovers historic run was ended by, yep you guessed it, Matt Busby's United who emerged 8-0 winners at Maine Road - our record margin of victory in this competition. This is only the third time that Yeovil have got this far, but - for the second time in the space of three years - they will face 12 time winners United at their quaint and atmospheric ground in rural Somerset. The Green and Whites were our opponents at the third round stage of the competition in the 2014-15 season under Louis van Gaal, and on that occasion goals from Ander Herrera and Angel Di Maria set us up for a 2-0 win. 

Nicknamed the Glovers because of Yeovil's history as the centre of glove-making, Yeovil were a Championship side as recently as 2014, but following two consecutive relegations, they now ply their trade in the fourth tier and currently sit 21st in League Two. Huish Park, the club's home since 1990, has a capacity of just over 9,000 - 9,264 witnessed our last trip there, that third round encounter in 2015. Surprisingly, that game was not a record attendance, with the visit of Leeds in 2008 breaking that figure with a crowd of 9,527. 

Former midfielder and fan favourite Darren Way is the club's current manager. Having represented Yeovil with distinction in over 300 games for the club, he then moved on to the Glovers coaching staff after his retirement as a player. He was Yeovil's first team coach for that visit of United and then served as assistant under Terry Skiverton and Paul Sturrock after Gary Johnson was sacked. Initially appointed as interim boss, Way was given the job full time on New Year's Eve 2015 - his first managerial post. 
Due to the lack of other large clubs in their area, Yeovil have few major rivals. Geographically,  Weymouth, Bournemouth, Exeter, Swindon and both Bristol clubs are considered rivals but Yeovil rarely face these sides due to their status as a League Two club. United will face Yeovil in the fourth round on the weekend of 27 and 28 January. 

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